The Infinite Mile Awards are given each year in June to recognize both support staff and administrative staff for exceptional achievements and contributions to the MIT Libraries over the previous year. Candidates for these awards are nominated by members of the library staff and awardees are chosen by a committee comprised of library peers.
The MIT Libraries' Infinite Mile Award Program is a peer recognition program, recognizing exceptional contributions, achievements, and endeavors from both Support and Administrative Staff, which support the Libraries' Mission. Collection, access, and stewardship of resources, education of users, and elevation of the Libraries' profile across the MIT community, as well as internal organizational improvements and services, represent some of the areas in which individuals and teams are able to make noteworthy contributions. Recognition will target both one-time/ad hoc projects and the ongoing work which sustains the Libraries' role as primary information provider to the MIT community.
Need more information? See the specifics of the Infinite Mile Awards Program.
Deliverance of sustained, exceptional work, translation of strategic goals and values into actions, implementation of effective change, and leadership, in all its forms and at all levels, constitute performance worthy of recognition. Awards may be given for completed activities as well as achieving major milestones toward ongoing activities.
Awards are given to individuals and teams* based on the eight award categories. Up to eight awards may be given, the compilation of which may include any combination of award categories and forms (individual or team) based on the merit of the nominations. The maximum number of awards given (eight) is established for budgetary reasons and is not intended to match the number of award categories, as these may change from time to time.
*A team is defined as any group working together with a common purpose or to achieve a common goal. There is no size restriction. A team can be as few as two people and as many as an entire department.
Following are the eight award areas, along with examples of some of the accomplishments, actions, and/or qualities that may be exemplified by the awardees. These lists are intended to provide helpful guidelines in thinking about the awards. They should not be viewed as limiting or restrictive but rather a general description of those things we value as an organization and want to recognize. There may be other similar qualities, actions, and accomplishments that would fall into these award categories.
BRINGING OUT THE BEST
This individual or team embodies the Libraries’ values of openness, inquiry, the pursuit of social justice, and an ethic of care. They inspire and encourage their colleagues to bring those values to our everyday work and help to create an environment that allows as many of us to bring our full selves to work as possible. Recipients of this award:
COLLABORATION AND INCLUSION
This individual or team embodies the values of inclusivity and collaboration. Recipients of this award:
COMMUNITY BUILDING & ENGAGEMENT
This award is presented to individuals or groups of individuals dedicated to creating an inclusive culture by building community, promoting social justice, and equity within the Libraries and/or the MIT community. These award recipients:
USER SERVICE AND SUPPORT
This individual or team consistently keeps users in mind when implementing or supporting the services and offerings of the Libraries. Recipients of this award:
INNOVATION, CREATIVITY, AND PROBLEM SOLVING
This individual or team seeks new or different ways – big or small – to accomplish their work in the service of the mission and vision of MIT Libraries. They are creative and apply analytical thinking and innovation to solve hard problems and tackle grand challenges in their work. These award recipients:
RESULTS, OUTCOME, AND PRODUCTIVITY
These individuals or teams through their work efforts harness our shared values and resources at MIT Libraries to positively make an impact and advance our vision a world where enduring, abundant, equitable, and meaningful access to information serves to empower and inspire humanity in support of the the MIT mission and so that it can be brought to bear on the world's great challenges and in the cause of social justice. Recipients:
TOUGH QUESTIONS / CRITICAL THINKERS
This individual or team asks the tough questions and critical thinking produce the kind of productive tension that leads to stronger ideas and solutions, ultimately creating a stronger organization. These award recipients:
The Unsung Hero understands what they can do to impact the functioning of our community in a meaningful way that reflects our values. These individuals or teams have substantive and positive impacts on the Libraries that are often unrecognized. Recipients of this award:
Our dear colleague Christine Moulen exhibited so many of the qualities that the Infinite Mile Awards recognize. In honor of Christine’s memory, this award would be presented to individuals who exhibit one of Christine’s many wonderful qualities, good citizenship, within the Libraries and/or MIT community. Recipients of this award may:
• Exhibit a “How can I help?” attitude, a general willingness to support others any way they can
• Demonstrate innovative and spontaneous behaviors that promote the work of the organization
• Improve effectiveness within a team by sharing expertise, knowledge, and information
• Resolve conflicts between teammates to promote cohesion
• Communicate effectively about impacts on others before taking action
• Support teammates and the work of the organization with courtesy and generosity
*Award amount will be additional and consistent with amount of the infinite mile award.
Award Program Funding
Funds for the Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Program are provided by the Institute. This allocation is intended to cover the cost of both Infinite Mile Awards and Spot Awards, as well as costs associated with awards ceremonies/events. The Libraries' Director of Human Resources is responsible for managing the Rewards and Recognition budget, in consultation with the Director of Finance and the Rewards and Recognition Committee Chair.
Form of Awards
As the number of awards and the number of individuals (i.e. team membership) receiving them will vary in any given year, the form and amounts of the awards distributed will not be pre-determined. The Rewards and Recognition Committee will determine award amounts as well as the form of awards, having the options of both cash awards and gift certificates. All individual awards for any one year will be for the same amount. This would also apply for the amount given to team members, i.e. each member of a given team will receive an equal amount (amounts may occasionally vary between teams based on team-size). In the case of gift certificates, recipients will be given choices within a pre-determined dollar amount.
The award year runs concurrently with the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. An award event will be held each year in mid- June, during which awards will be presented by the Director of Libraries and/or others as appropriately assigned by the Committee.
Note: the annual Rewards and Recognition Award event is separate and apart from the Libraries' annual service award event held in January.
Nomination Schedule and Process
Solicitation of nominations will begin once the Rewards and Recognition Committee has had an opportunity to conduct the program review with a target date of early January. Solicitation will occur according to the Committee's established schedule via email and/or paper mailings. Nominations must be made using a nomination form created by the Committee. Nominations should be submitted to the Libraries’ Director of HR. Nominations are encouraged from ALL staff. Nominators may make multiple nominations (on separate forms).
After the nomination deadline has passed, the Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Committee will review all nominations and determine the number of awards and the award category for each (suggested maximum is four individual and four team). Nominations will be judged within the context of the established criteria. Should Committee members require additional information or clarification for their deliberations, they will seek this information through the Libraries' Director for HR.
The committee will submit the names of chosen award recipients (and the corresponding award amounts allocated) to the HR Director for final review by the AD's. This should happen six weeks prior to the scheduled award event in June. Within two weeks, the Director for HR will meet with the Rewards and Recognition Committee to relay the AD's' response and to discuss any related issues.
Prior to the award event, award recipients will receive a letter from the Director of Libraries informing them that they will be formally recognized with an award on the scheduled date of the award event. Letters to team award recipients will include names of all members of the team. Copies of the notification letter will also be sent to the nominator and the nominees' Department Head.
Note: In order to maintain some element of surprise for staff, the names of award recipients will be disclosed to only those in receipt of the award letter and will be kept confidential until the award event.
During the months of July, August, and September, the past and current Rewards and Recognition Committees will have time to meet and review the program. Should any changes be needed, the current committee will prepare the proposed changes for the Associate Directors' review. Approved changes to the program will be in place by January 1.
Rewards and Recognition Committee
Membership: Committee members will be invited to serve by the Libraries' R&R Key contact (Cherry Ibrahim). Suggestions and volunteers will be considered. The Libraries' Rewards and Recognition Committee will be comprised of a composite representation, as best as possible, of the library staff. Terms will be for one year beginning in early Fall and running through late summer. Responsibilities of committee members will be to:
The R&R Key Contact will be responsible for providing administrative support to the Rewards and Recognition Committee and for the facilitation of some aspects of the program including committee appointments, nomination distributions, maintenance of program web site, procurement of awards, and serving as the Institute's R&R key contact. S/he will also manage the Rewards and Recognition budget, as allocated by the Institute, in consultation with the Associate Director for Administration and the Rewards and Recognition Committee Chair.